Yep, it’s the last day of January and I’m still doing 2018 wrap-up posts (this is what happens when you stop posting regularly, whoops).
In lieu of doing New Year’s resolutions for 2018, I did monthly experiments instead (and yes, the months I didn’t do set experiments were experiments in slowing down/taking pressure off myself. That totally counts ?). But I also set some money goals for the year.
In that post, I wrote that I failed at my 2017 money goals. But failing while still making progress means failing upward, so for probably the first time in my life, I embraced failure.
Did I, seasoned money blogger that I now am, kick ass on my goals last year? Or did I fail upward (or just straight-up fail) for a second year in a row? Let’s find out.
2018 money goals
I set the following five goals in December 2017 for 2018 (and honestly I’d forgotten what some of them were until writing this post. That’s how goals work, right?? I’m so good at this):
1. Do at least one no-spend month and actually stick with it
I kinda sorta unofficially tried a few times, but for various reasons they ended up pretty half-assed. That is, until November. I’d say a 58% savings rate sounds like a pretty good no-spend month!
2. Pay off all consumer debt by the end of March 2018 (this is on credit cards with intro 0% interest rates so I’m not paying interest. If I were, I would’ve paid this off months ago!)
I did this! And much celebrating was had.
But I’ve got a secret: I’m currently sitting on $1,000 of debt on a credit card. Again, it’s 0% interest or it wouldn’t exist (obligatory DO NOT PAY INTEREST ON YOUR CREDIT CARDS. PAY THEM OFF ON TIME AND IN FULL EVERY MONTH/DON’T USE THEM IF YOU CAN’T disclaimer here, which, yes, feels a bit hypocritical, even though I’ve paid interest on a credit card maybe once in my life).
But back last summer before I had a car emergency fund, a 0% interest card was a nice place to park my car insurance for the year. And maybe—ahem—a CampFI impulse purchase or two.
Sure, I’m making more money by keeping it in my savings accounts at 2.2% (thank you, Ally!) and letting that 0% interest balance ride. But I also hate having any kind of debt, especially because I was at zero consumer debt for a bit last year! So I’ve been torn on it existing.
I’ve been whittling it down, but that shit is getting paid off as soon as my tax return hits. Now if I could just get all of my tax forms so I could go ahead and file those…
3. Be completely debt-free by the end of September 2018 (see ya, student loans!)
So. My student loans are gone and I paid them off way ahead of schedule in May!
But see above about not being consumer debt-free ?♀️
4. Max out my Roth IRA contribution for the year
Status: in progress.
Vanguard is helpfully telling me that I’m at 65% of my 2018 IRA contribution limit; I’ve contributed $3,552 of the $5,500 max, so I’ve got $1,948 left to go. Which is kind of a daunting amount (don’t get me started on the $6,000 limit for 2019). But I’m still going to max it out somehow!
This is another thing I’m planning on using tax return money for. And no, I’m not expecting enough of a return to be able to accomplish this solely with that money, but I do also have $1,800 sitting aside in a savings account I use for taxes.
I put 1/3 of every paycheck I get from my weekend job into that account for taxes since I get a 1099 for that instead of a W-2 (yes, 1/3 is more than I need to set aside, but I’d rather be safe). Since I overpay on taxes every year and get money back, so far owing taxes on my 1099 earnings has just meant a smaller return, not that I owe any of that money.
Now by “so far” I mean “the two and a half months I worked at that job in 2017 that were reflected on that year’s taxes.” To the surprise of no one, I got paid far more over the course of the entire year in 2018 than I did for the few months of 2017 since I started in October that year. But I’m still planning on not needing to touch any of the money in my taxes savings account when I do file my taxes, so I’ll be free to transfer it out and use it elsewhere. Like for my Roth IRA.
I am also slowly trying to convince myself that it’s okay if I put some of my emergency fund into my Roth IRA since I can take out my contributions penalty-free at any time (obviously putting that money into a fund instead of a money market means I could potentially have less money when I go to withdraw that contribution, so that’s a concern as well). Thanks to my money anxiety I still feel like my emergency fund isn’t big enough, but the reality is that I’d be okay for a few months. I can afford to tie up a bit of my cash by parking it in my Roth IRA instead of my various savings accounts.
So if I’m still short of the full $5,500 even after I do my taxes, I’ll supplement from my emergency fund. (Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that, though! Like my other anxiety, working on my money anxiety/convincing myself that yes, I do actually have ample cash for a cushion in case I’m without a job for a few months, is an ongoing journey way more than a destination I’ll simply reach some day.)
5. Reach a net worth of $65,000 (just for fun, since I don’t have control over the markets!)
Ahahaha did you see how December went in the stock market??!
I don’t share my net worth here for various reasons—for one, despite my best efforts to not compare myself to others, I’ve found it demoralizing when I read about how people are so much farther ahead than I am, and I don’t want to cause anyone who has a lower net worth than I do to feel the same way. Also because sometimes I look at my net worth and feel like I should be farther along so I don’t want to share it for selfish reasons—so I’m not going to say if I was on track to hit this or not.
Let’s just say my net worth took a very sad dive at the end of the year. And this is why I’m not setting net worth goals again, even “just for fun” ones! I’m focusing on what I can control with my money, which is a lot.
So according to these, 2018 was a mixed bag.
Despite 2017 being my first full year of tracking my spending, I didn’t set a savings rate goal for 2018 (now there’s a goal I have way more control over than my net worth!). Probably because I don’t budget ?♀️
But it turns out I didn’t need a goal because I still blew it out of the water with a 42% savings rate for the year! Which means it was way less of a mixed bag and way more of an extremely successful year. And that’s even with me apparently not knowing how savings work or how to do the savings thing for-reals ?
Soooo what about this year?
No, I haven’t done a goals/resolutions/experiments/what have you post for 2019 yet. But stay tuned for that…soon. My 2019 money goals are going to be in there!
4 Replies to “The year in money goals: 2018”
I don’t recall your exact age, but you are killing the game with your net worth! From age 26-28, my net worth was NEGATIVE 150k-ish, thanks to the underwater mortgage, job loss, and not knowing I could contribute to both an 457 & a Roth IRA. Don’t be discouraged by your NW, because you’re putting in the groundwork to catapult your finances to great heights in the future!
And I love the arbitrage of the 0% debt vs 2.2% Savings account. Hacks like that are too easy and yet most people wouldn’t bother trying it. Good job exploiting a loophole!
“I’d forgotten what some of them were until writing this post” ? that’s totally how you do goals! Set and forget! ?
In all seriousness it seemed like 2018 was a fantastic year on the money front. Can’t do much about the markets, but hey – we all know that’s a roller coaster ride anyways. One way to see it is you’re laying the groundwork now. Once that NW gets higher, the resulting gains compound on themselves!
“But failing while still making progress means failing upward, so for probably the first time in my life, I embraced failure.” This sentence! Omg, I love it… I love the concept of failing upward. 😀
I so feel you on the IRA thing. Tempting to try and goad the husband into doing that to max his out for 2018, but he feels wayyyy more comfortable having that money in regular savings, so it likely won’t happen. Still, combined we contributed waaaaaaay more in 2018 than any previous year.